The Out of the Blue
The Out of the Blue is a space for creators and artists that also serves as a rehearsal, exhibition and concert hall.
Its popular Flea Market, which takes place every last Saturday of the month from 10:00 to 15:00, attracts visitors from all over to buy and rummage through all the second-hand and antique objects on offer. You’ll find vintage clothing, accessories, costume jewellery, music, films, books, furniture and many other curious items. You’re sure to find something that takes your fancy hidden among the goods on sale at the more than 50 stalls that gather for this market.
The Bruncheon & Food Market is held on the second Saturday of every month from 10:00 to 15:00, where you can enjoy a delicious brunch while listening to live music and where you can buy organic fruit and vegetable produce or traditional sweets, among many other things.
36 Dalmeny Street, Edimburgo
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Harry Potter and Edimburgh
Speaking of Harry Potter and Edinburgh recalls inevitably the image of a young JK Rowling huddled in the corner of a coffee, drawing on the paper his imagined universe as time flies and steaming coffee cup empties slowly. Although it is difficult to know to what extent, it is undeniable that Rowling was inspired by the scenery of the Scottish capital in order to populate his world of characters and fantastic places, as itwas in Edinburgh where the first wizard’s adventures took form in the early 90 where Rowling ended the last book in the series in 2007. Many fans of Harry move to the city to follow the first steps of a child who one day received a letter that would change his life.
In 1994, Rowling and her young daughter, still a baby, moved to Edinburgh from Portugal, where she worked as an English teacher. When she arrived in Scotland, the idea of Harry Potter spent years in the making. Rowling had already written the first chapters of the first book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Philosophical Stone.”
During the winter of 1994, Rowling started to frequent several cafes in town, where she spent hours writing in a notebook while her daughter was dozing peacefully beside her after walking her around the streets of Edinburgh.
In the beginning, Rowling went to a cafe today disappeared, Nicholson’s Café, in Nicholson Street. Counts the history that, for the price of a coffee, she was allowed to spend the whole evening writing on site. Today another cafe, Spoon,takes its place.
The Elephant House , on George IV Bridge is the cafe that more closely relate to Rowling.Although in an inscription and a drawing on the glass The Elephant House claims to be “the birthplace of Harry Potter ‘, the fact is that did not open until 1995, and by then the first book in the series progressed fluently. But it is true that the author wrote many evenings at a back table in the cafe, by the window, whose splendid views over the castle and Greyfriars Cemetery inspired her to build the story. Throughout the years, fans of the series have filled the walls of the toilettes at The Elephant House of entries:
Rowling went on visiting the cafes of the city long after her books became a bestseller, but while writing the fourth volume, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, her growing fame forced her to give up this practice.
It is said that Greyfriars cemetery, one of the best known in Edinburgh because of the alleged apparitions by odd dwellers from beyond and the legend of Bobby the Dog, inspired the mythic and dreary graveyard scene from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, in which Voldemort returns to its physical shape and fights a duel with Harry.
There are two places not to miss in this cemetery. First one is the grave of William McGonagall, a writer who’s been awarded the title of worst poet in British history. It is rumoured that the name of Professor Minerva McGonagall comes from here as Rowling noted it was a curious contrast between this minor poet and a brilliant woman as the teacher. The second intesresting place is a tombstone in which lie a father and a son called Thomas Riddell. In English books, Voldemort’s real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle and although written differently, father and grandfather “who must not be named “ also shared the name of Tom/Thomas, and Harry visit their graves in novels
George Heriot’s School
Quite close to Greyfriars cemetery stands the stunning Gothic building of George Heriot’s School, whose founder, George Heriot, planned as a schoolwhere orphans received free education. Today is a prestigious private school, and Rowling said she was inspired by it to create the unforgettable Hogwarts. In fact, students at George Heriot’s School are divided into four houses, as the wizards of Hogwarts: Lauriston (marked by the green color), Greyfriars (white), Raeburn (red) and Castle (blue) . Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw? During the course, each student aspires to earn points for their respective house, which are achieved thanks to a good academic performance, among others things. Usually the school can not be accessed, but sometimes opens its doors in days like the Open Doors Day.
While the first books of Harry Potter were born in humble cafes, Rowling wrote the last lines of the novel that closes the series in a luxury room in Balmoral Hotel, one of the most prestigious and expensive in the city. She was staying in Suite 552 while finishing the book and, when completed, let the following words written on a marble bust, “On January 11th, 2007, JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ in this room. ”
There are many other parts of the city somehow related to the author of Harry Potter’s saga. For example, just before the publication of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, a draw was called and 70 children, who were winners, enjoyed a weekend in the castle of Edinburgh, dressed in Hogwarts for the occasion. Rowling met children who came to the castle in carriages, and answered their questions, gave them signed copies of the new book and invited them to various events and banquets.
Furthermore, it is believed that Rowling created the lively Diagon Alley, where magicians come to stock up on all the material needed, inspired by a popular and colorful street in Edinburgh, Victoria Street, which is also packed with shops, such as a popular joke shop in the style of the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
It is also said that J.K. Rowling based the Sorting Hat, a hat of thousands years old that young wizards get on arrival at Hogwarts to have a house assigned, in a tradition that takes place in the graduation ceremony of the University of Edinburg , in which the students rise up the stage one by one as the Provost give them a knock with that historic hat in the head.
In one corner of the Edinburgh City Chambers on the Royal Mile, hands belonging to outstanding personalities of the city are immortalized, and JK Rowling was the second to receive this honor, after writer Ian Rankin. Today, Rowling still resides in Edinburgh most of the time, so if you’re in the series, keep your eyes open, because she might be seen around town.
If you walk a Saturday through the park of the Meadows, you will find football games, rugby … and Quidditch trainings! Although it began as a fictional sport , soon it became real and for years many American and British universities have their own team. One of the features is that is played on a broom, but, unlike the books, not flying.
Most tours of Edinburgh mentioned the Harry Potter tour at some point, and there is also a specialized tour Magician Potter, which, despite being a nice route that will provide information and take you to the sites listed above, does not give access to any private building or having a high added value with respect to a ride that you yourself designed for you by the center (see map for details).
Picture by Eiscir
By Angie from Más Edimburgo
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The best lochs in Scotland
The geographical beauty of Scotland is known worldwide. Its identity, landscapes, moors, mists or castles, make this land a unique place with its own great personality. But if there is something Scotland is well known for is for the loch, a symbol for the country, where traditions, tales, myths and legends merge the waters with the character and personality of the Scots. The characteristic topography and landscape of this country cannot be understood without them.
Why don’t we take a swim in some of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland?
Loch Rannoch: Located in Perth and Kinross, this loch is over 14 km long. The River Tummel begins at the eastern end and the Tay Forest Park lies along the southern shore. The lake and its surroundings offer good places for fishing and walking. The small village of Kinloch Rannoch is on the eastern end of the loch, and near the western end a crannog, an ancient artificial island, can be found.
Loch Lomond: The largest in Scotland with its 37km long and 8km wide. There are a big number of islands inside the loch, many of which are artificially created in ancient times to be inhabited.
Loch Ness: This is the lake of Scotland, the best known and most visited. The legends and tales told about its waters have become worldwide famous. It is about 39 km long, it forms part of the Caledonian Canal and has one of the most visited and photographed ruins of Scotland, Urquhart Castle. If you have good luck, maybe you’ll see Nessie.
Loch Tummel: One of the most famous viewpoints in Scotland is the Queens View, on the north of Edinburgh. The views over Lake Tummel and surrounding mountains are spectacular. Also, very close, in the town of Pitlochry, every October you can find the sound and light show known as the Enchanted Forest, which attracts thousands of visitors.
Loch Duich: The Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most famous and photographed castles in Scotland, located between lakes Alsh and Duich, makes this large lake one of the most visited in the country.
Loch Coruisk: The trip to this lake is one of the most beautiful of Scotland. Located between the "Munros" of Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Dearg and Bla Bheinn, to access it you have to take a boat from Eigol and just get carried away by the landscapes that go through a half-hour drive along the bay until you reach the dock. Curiously, depending on the season, you can see colonies of seals sunbathing or swimming in the lake.
Image from Jacob Martin
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Eight Places Not to Miss in Edinburgh
To start, let’s recall that Edinburgh is both a World Heritage Site and also the first place to be designated by UNESCO as a “City of Literature”, because of its numerous well-preserved buildings and monuments and its age-old literary traditions.
The city is best seen at a walking pace, and as a pedestrian you’ll find its hidden nooks and crannies and perchance the spirits of the city’s famed authors and even more famous creations, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his shrewd detective Sherlock Holmes, Robert Louis Stevenson and the two-faced Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or Sir Walter Scott and his heroic Ivanhoe and Rob Roy characters. And there’s even a chance you’ll see some of the city’s literary figures in the flesh, for we shall start our tour in the café with the red façade where the contemporary author J. K. Rowling penned many of her early stories and planned her books about the boy wizard Harry Potter.
1. Few people noticed the young Rowling scribbling in her notebooks at a table in the unprepossessing Elephant House café. The establishment, which opened in 1995, remains a favourite of literary types, thanks to its selection of the city’s best coffees and teas, which continue to stain many pages of manuscript. Huge breakfasts are also served, as well as hot midday and evening meals, plus the usual sandwiches and cakes, etc. And there’s an excellent wine list, too. No excuse for not sitting down and writing your book!
2. Or you might prefer to take a stroll down Edinburgh’s legendary Royal Mile, linking the city’s two most popular monumental sites, Edinburgh Castle, standing above the city atop the towering volcanic basalt plug known as Castle Rock, and, at the other extreme, Holyrood Palace, the official Scottish residence of the British monarch. A slow and attentive walk down the four stretches of the Royal Mile, called Castlehill, Lawn Market, High Street, and Canongate, will infuse you with the unique, friendly atmosphere and stony charm of this historical city.
3. If you appreciate the macabre, on your walk down the Royal Mile you must stop at Mary King’s Close, a warren of gloomy underground streets and enclosures widely believed to be haunted by the ghosts of the past. Once a thriving market, the close was named for a woman who lived there and traded in cloth in the early 1600s. According to urban legend, when the plague struck the area in 1645, the authorities walled it off, leaving scores of people inside to die. Since, then reports of strange lights and noises have fuelled beliefs that the zone remains haunted. Visitors often brings dolls to calm the ghost of the legendary Annie, a child plague victim thought to have been left by her parents to die in the Close, and whose heart-rending cries can still be heard. Perhaps.
4. For a Facebook-worthy selfie showing Edinburgh Castle in the background, the place to go is Princess Street, Edinburgh’s main shopping street, which featured in the 1996 film Trainspotting. Apart from the shopping opportunities there, the street happens to be the best place from which to capture a panoramic view of the castle, since there are no buildings on the castle side of the street, but only gardens and monuments.
5. If you’re looking for quirkier and more out-of-the-way shops, head for the wildly picturesque Victoria Street, a curving slope just off the Royal Mile that is a favourite of photographers because of its colourful specialised shops selling liquors, cheeses, handicrafts, and all sorts of treasures. You’re sure to find bargains in the several charity shops selling used clothing and other items, the proceeds from which are donated to worthy causes. Harry Potter’s creator J.K. Rowling acknowledged that this street was her inspiration for Diagon Alley, where her wizards bought their magical gear.
6. Edinburgh is not made entirely of stone, despite initial impressions. It also features expansive green zones, such as the parks of Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat, where the city’s joggers, cyclists, and dog-walkers go. Both offer fantastic views of the city from on high. The 251-metre Arthur’s Seat is the peak to which, according to legend, King Arthur used to repair when he needed time alone to think. Atop Calton Hill are two monuments to British victories over the French, Nelson’s Tower, commemorating the battle of Trafalgar, and Scotland’s National Monument, an unfinished construction modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, built in the 1820s to honour Scotland’s dead in the Napoleonic wars.
7. At Ocean Terminalin the Port of Leith, Edinburgh’s harbour, stands the Royal Yacht Britannia, used by the British royal family from 1954 until 1997 when it was converted into a floating museum that is well worth a visit –don’t miss the little bedroom where Queen Elizabeth II slept during her nearly 1,000 state voyages.
8. To finish up, you might visit Greyfriars Cemetery and have your picture taken next to the statue of one of Edinburgh’s heroes, Bobby, a Skye terrier traditionally believed to have stood watch by his master’s grave for no less than14 years, until his own death in 1873, after which he was buried next to his master.
Text and Photos: Nani Arenasmore info